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Messer Embraces Change Management to Radically Transform Projects

How do you move your entire enterprise onto a new solution without disrupting day-to-day operations? That was the challenge Brant Fischer, Messer’s Project Solutions Executive, was tasked with solving when the company wanted to enhance processes and drive efficiencies. By taking an outcome-focused approach—understanding the purpose of change and working backward to map out the process—Brant successfully onboarded 6,005 active users across 250 projects in 12 months to Autodesk Build.

Determining the Why

As a full-service commercial construction manager, Messer is the largest general contractor in Cincinnati and was named the ENR Midwest Contractor of the Year in 2022. The company isn’t green about using technology, having started its digital transformation in 2004.

Until recently, however, Messer navigated two solutions: one focused on core project control-type activities, such as submittals, RFIs, and drawings, and another for quality and safety. It became apparent that the team needed a unified solution. Deciding on that platform, though, was an extensive undertaking and required an effective change management plan.

“We’re focused on continuously improving our processes, being more efficient and agile, and adapting to the ever-changing environment,” says Andy Burg, Messer’s VP of Operations Technology Solutions. “But Messer doesn’t just adopt a new tool because it’s fancy and flashy. There must be a good business case so the whole company can rally around it.”

Messer started by surveying the field with questions focused on how much time was spent on current processes, the intuitiveness of existing tools, and specific examples of what processes users would like to see improved.

Hundreds of surveys were completed by various team members, and those findings were presented to the executive team for buy-in.

“We had one chance to get it right. If anyone has a bad experience the first time they use a tool, they tend to write the platform off.”

Brant Fischer
Project Solutions Executive


Establishing Criteria and Scorecards

With the results from their survey in tow, the next step for Messer was to appoint its selection committee. The committee included diverse perspectives across job types, ranging from project engineers to project executives and support departments across the company’s ten regions.

“While the selection committee included representatives across the company, corporate resources on the team needed to be solely facilitators and non-voting members of the selection process. In our case, we had four people,” says Brant. “It’s essential that when ultimate recommendations and selections are made, they come from the users.”

Utilizing the survey data, the committee created the evaluation criteria, including categories for observations, issues, punchlists, drawings, inspections, submittals, and meetings. A scoring system was used, with each team member distributing 100 points among the categories based on importance, and the scores were averaged.

Next, pre-vetted vendors gave demonstrations of their software, which were evaluated by the Messer team with a 1-5 ranking system focused on features and functions; pricing was not disclosed. After a subsequent review meeting with the committee, the corporate team put together an evaluation executive summary.

“Our committee recommended that we move forward with Autodesk Build at an enterprise level. The solution ticked all the boxes and ranked the highest across the must-have features deemed critical by our end users.”

Brant Fischer
Project Solutions Executive


Successfully Rolling out Tech across Multiple Projects

Messer had to move fast, with ten months to transition from current technology tools to Autodesk Build. Any current projects were finished with the existing software, but new contracts were slated to use Autodesk Build.

Autodesk partnered with Messer’s full-time trainer to offer comprehensive training and onboarding resources to ensure a smooth transition. With a train-the-trainer approach, Messer tailored its teams’ sessions and collected feedback to help improve the solution to suit the company’s needs.

“Partnership’s a big part of our culture; we looked for a technology partner to walk alongside us and help us with our business plan,” Andy notes. “We seamlessly rolled Autodesk Build in as we phased out our other product, and nobody knows the difference. It’s intuitive enough that we don’t need heavy training.”

Utilizing an unlimited license model also encouraged quicker adoption among the many stakeholders.

“We don’t have to pick and choose who’s invited to collaborate. Everyone who is part of the project has access to share information and work more effectively,” says Brant.

As of August 17, 2022, Messer had 250 active projects; 6,005 active users, including trade partners, owners, architects, and engineers; created 93,483 forms; and uploaded 22,000 sheets—and those numbers only continue to increase. Investing in Autodesk has kept Messer sharpened for what’s ahead.

“We’re on a mission to grow, and together as employees, we’re making those tough decisions needed. Everybody’s got their oar in the water, and we’re all rowing in the same direction.”

Brant Fischer
Project Solutions Executive